Curry Braised Chicken Thighs

4.60 from 328 votes
1 hour
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Curry Braised Chicken Thighs is a delicious Indian-inspired dinner for two.  Spicy, flavorful and budget-friendly, it’s sure to spice up the night with your loved one! You’ll also love my Chicken and Potato Curry!

Photo of Curry Braised Chicken Thighs in pan garnished with cilantro on yellow striped towel.

What is braising?

One of my absolute favorite cooking methods is a slow braise; it’s almost magical!

Braising uses both moist and dry heat.  A tough cut of protein that has lots of connective tissue, is first seared at a high temperature.  Then, it simmers at a low temperature for up to several hours.  During this process, the connective tissue breaks down and the tough cut of protein is transformed into something buttery and fall-off-the-bone tender.

For this recipe, I used budget-friendly chicken thighs which lend themselves well to the braising method.  However, chicken thighs don’t take hours to become tender.

Indian cuisine may seem intimidating at first because of all the exotic spices.  However, this recipe for Curry Braised Chicken Thighs uses ingredients found at any local grocery store or international market like Madras curry powder.

Photo of Madras curry powder blend in copper bowl on gray background.
 

What is Madras curry powder?

Madras curry powder isn’t authentically Indian.  It was created by the British to try and mimic the amazing curry flavors of India which they fell in love with when India was one of their territories.

A word of warning: Madras curry powder can be very hot.  In addition to ground chilies, it also has spices such as turmeric, coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and fenugreek.  If you enjoy curry but don’t like the heat, substitute a mild curry powder here or blend your own.  (Affiliate link.)


Photo of Curry Braised Chicken Thighs in skillet with carrots garnished with cilantro sprigs.

Vary the vegetables and use cubed sweet potato, cauliflower florets, broccoli florets or spinach instead of carrots.  Chickpeas would also make a nice addition.  Serve with plenty of brown basmati rice to soak up this flavor-packed sauce.  If desired, a dollop of plain yogurt will help cool it down.

For more great bone-in chicken thigh recipes, check out: 30 Best Bone-In Chicken Thigh Recipes.

Serve Curry Braised Chicken Thighs with:

Want more amazing Indian-inspired curry recipes?  Be sure to check these out!

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Curry Braised Chicken Thighs hero shot in pan garnished with cilantro on dark wood surface with yellow striped towel.

Curry Braised Chicken Thighs

4.60 from 328 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Spice up the night with your loved one with this Indian-inspired dinner for two! Serve with plenty of brown basmati rice to soak up this flavorful sauce.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2
Calories 891 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 chicken thighs on the bone - skin removed if desired
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil - or as needed
  • 1 small onion - halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots - quartered lengthwise, then cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder - such as Madras
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes - undrained
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream - or canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro - plus sprigs for garnish
  • Cooked brown basmati rice
  • Plain yogurt - optional

Instructions
 

  • Season chicken thighs generously with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  • Heat oil in a deep skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, and brown 2-3 minutes per side, or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  • Add more oil if necessary. Add the onion then reduce heat to medium-low and cook 4-5 minutes or until beginning to soften.
  • Add carrot and cook 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned in places.
  • Add curry powder, ginger and garlic and cook very briefly, about 15 seconds.
  • Add tomatoes, chicken broth and cream or coconut milk. Return chicken thighs to the pan.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover slightly and simmer 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees.
  • Adjust seasoning if desired. Stir in cilantro.
  • Serve with brown basmati rice. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and plain yogurt if desired.

VIDEO

Notes

SUBSTITUTIONS:  Use boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs in place of the thighs on the bone.  Reduce cooking time by 5-10 minutes.  You can also use leg quarters but may need additional time.  Cook all chicken to 165 degrees in the thickest part.
MAKE AHEAD: This can be made one day ahead.  Cool and refrigerate until needed.  Place in an oven-safe dish and reheat uncovered at 350 degrees until heated through to 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Cool thoroughly.  Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator.  Reheat uncovered at 350 degrees until heated through to 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 891kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 74g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 31g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 303mg | Sodium: 674mg | Potassium: 944mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 11410IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 3mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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Recipe Rating




233 Comments

  1. What about putting some sweet alcoholic beverage, such as Marsala or cream sherry, in the sauce? Or wine? Has anyone tried that? I have made this several times and my people LOVE it.

    1. Hi, David, Thanks so much and so happy you all love this recipe. I can see adding some white wine. Marsala could give it a sweet taste that might compete with the curry, same with the cream sherry. Thanks again and if you try it, please let me know how it goes.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was amazing! We loved that it was saucy so we could serve with rice. Going to make this often; it’s a keeper! Thanks again!

    1. Hi, Caryn, Thanks so much and so happy you enjoyed! We enjoy a fair amount of sauce, too! Great for reheating. Appreciate your taking the time to come back and rate and comment.

  3. 4 stars
    This is good but I doubled the amount of curry on a hunch and it’s still a little bland. It also came out pretty watery. I used a can of crushed tomatoes and could have skipped the chicken broth.

      1. 3 stars
        The flavour, even with fresh genuine spices, is mild at best, and it’s very watery. It’s a lot more like a curry soup than a true curry. If you double up on your spices and cut back on the liquids it’s decent.

  4. 5 stars
    I found this recipe after getting a lot of chicken thighs on sale and looking for something different to do with them. This recipe is delicious and I’m making it again tonight. Thank you

  5. 3 stars
    Recipe was delish. We added a tablespoon and a half of brown sugar to balance the heat from the cayenne and more carrots. I would also add more veg next time for a one pot meal.

  6. 5 stars
    This was all the flavors I was looking to find. Husband doesn’t care for tomatoes so I used tomato paste. Had some red chilis on hand that lent awesome heat. I doubled the recipe as I used quarters, removed skin because it had plenty of flavor. Will definitely make again. Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe and easy to prepare. The only thing I did differently was that I added a bit more curry powder.

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve made this several times now and its a massive hit in our home!! Good tip on the Madras curry powder – the Madras curry makes a huge difference and makes the dish taste more authentic. I’ll be adding in chickpeas and potatoes the next round I make it 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!!

    1. Hi, Sandy, Thanks so very much and so happy you enjoy this recipe so much! Chickpeas and potatoes are a great idea and Madras is amazing! Thanks again!

  9. 5 stars
    I am always looking for good and simple recipes for meals that I like and this one fits the bill. Here are my recommendations as how I do it family size:
    – Buy the family-size chicken thighs (8-10 per pack) when on sale.
    – To keep this a “one-pot” meal, use a rectangular large roaster pan. Place it over two burners and rotate it 180-degrees every now and then to keep the uneven heat from two burners better distributed. Finish in a pre-heated oven @350-degrees, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
    – I would avoid the cayenne pepper seasoning on the chicken and just go with the salt and pepper. Your curry may already be spicy and you can add the cayenne pepper seasoning to the sauce to spice it up later.
    – Go easy on the oil before the first step of adding the chicken thighs skin-side down. The fat from the skin should render enough good and tasty fat that you will use to brown your vegetables in the following step.
    – Onions can be cut at 1/2-inch wide and added with the carrots to the roasting pan immediately after the chicken.
    – Tomatoes are optional. Also can try peppers, mushrooms, and/or thin-sliced potatoes. Just do not add more vegetables than can cover the bottom of the roasting pan with additional room to breathe.
    – Use a can of coconut milk instead of the heavy cream for a more authentic flavor. You may also want to add a quarter stick of butter with the coconut milk if you desire more richness.
    – Stir and taste your curry broth before adding your chicken back in before baking. Add cayenne pepper seasoning, more curry, salt, butter, and/or broth before adding your chicken back in to get it to taste. Your broth should be slightly “thin” as it will thicken up a little after baking.
    – When adding the thighs back in, make sure you place them skin-side up and resting on the bottom of the pan and not on top of the vegetables.
    – After baking, remove chicken thighs and stir vegetables/curry broth well and season to taste. Recombine thighs to your meal and sprinkle generously with cilantro or parsley.

  10. 5 stars
    The recipe was a big success. Thank you. All the family loved it :). I made the recipe with no substitutions.

    1. Hi, Kelly, Thanks so much for your question! You would want to season and brown the chicken thighs then remove them to a plate. Add a little extra oil if needed then get the onions started just to get them softened. Add the remaining ingredients but reduce the chicken broth by half. Cook on High for 20 minutes or so. Make sure the chicken is fully cooked and fall-off-the-bone. Thanks again, hope you enjoy and let me know how it goes.